(from 4Q Diaries) – 4Q, or 3Q as we were now, spent the next six weeks frantically rehearsing, with me taking on Edi’s vocal duties as well as guitar. I had always wanted to sing in a band, but Edi’s shoes were very big to fill. The next gig was playing a Welsh language music festival in Corwen. 4Q’s self-publicised hype had secured us a slot high up the bill and people were keen to see the band. Rhys Mwyn sent me a message of support, ‘I’ll definitely be there to see you fuck Corwen.’ He wasn’t wrong!
There was a wishy-washy pop band called Tynal Tywyll (pic above) from Bethesda with a vocalist called Ian Morris that we disliked with all intensity, so we were hoping that they were on after us so we could leave the stage smeared in gob, beer and vomit! This gig put the 4Q hype into action, the half-baked stories of chaos at gigs no longer needed to be exaggerated, it was reality. OK so the gigs with Edi at the helm were abusive and frantic but they weren’t intimidating. This one was VERY INTIMIDATING. Maybe the three of us tried to make up for the loss of Edi by turning on the abuse, or maybe we didn’t know how to captivate an audience like Edi could. But this gig, which was by far the biggest audience we had played to (over 1400), was the turning point in the history of 4Q. It was a Welsh language festival and how on earth I managed to blag us to be second from the top is anyone’s guess. It was quite a gig, Paul drove, so me and Wayne treated ourselves to a few cans of Tennents Super Strength Lager, by the time we hit the stage I was seeing double!
We arrived at The Pavilion at 8pm and the town was packed with pissed people and inside the venue there were about 300 people watching Fflaps finish their set. We were due on at 10.30pm, so in the meantime we blagged our way into a pub solemnly promising a bouncer that we wouldn’t cause any trouble.
Bethesda’s Ffa Coffi Pawb were just leaving the stage, where a young Gruff Rhys (pic left) would eventually be rocketed to superstardom as the mainstay of Super Furry Animals. Stumbling onto, rather than alighting the stage, 4Q were about to stutter into local folklore. Wayne threw out some general abuse the way of Edi for leaving us and proceeded into Nein Werk only for my guitar to cut out due to having a cheap dodgy lead. The problem was sorted but I was so pissed I was playing the chorus while singing the verse, then Wayne stopped playing to offer someone a fight on stage. By the third song 1984, we were both keeping a constant flow of gob and beer directed at the front rows while Cumi was down there teaching the kids how to mosh. It was at this point when Tynal Tywyll’s Ian Morris stormed up to the promoter, Dafydd Gwyn and screamed, ‘Get this fucking shit off the stage.’ The song spluttered to an end and I remember (vaguely) asking the crowd, ‘Aren’t we the biggest load of shit you’ve ever seen in your life?’ The response was a huge and unanimous,‘YESSS!’
During the following song some members of the audience were by now getting enraged by the gob and offensive gestures and Dafydd Gwyn ran on stage to advise me that the crowd looked like they might kill the band. We carried on with two more numbers until Cumi had to jump up on stage to avoid getting his head kicked in. An angry looking young farmer pulled at my microphone during the song so I let a hefty kick at the offending hand, which also sent the microphone and stand flying, much to the dismay of the PA owner who pleaded with the promoter to pull us off before any more of his gear was trashed. My guitar lead was ripped out of its socket. And with hundreds of angry faces in front us Wayne and I fuelled by alcohol and very wound up wrapped up the show. The tape recording transcribed as follows…
Neil: ‘Anarchy! Fuck you’
Wayne: ‘Well we liked it anyway’
Neil: ‘Fuck you’
Wayne: ‘We won’t be playing here again you wankers’
Paul: ‘Take it easy lads’
Crowd: ‘Wankers, wankers, wankers’
Wayne: ‘Fuck off Corwen.’
We had to be rushed out of a back door, which was locked after us as people started getting up on stage with the intention of maiming the band. Paul explained, ‘What a great gig! And I nicked Cyrff’s snare drum.’ I do remember in a drunken haze seeing Ann and Alan Fflaps clapping their hands with ear to ear grins as we came off stage, it must’ve been fantastic to watch such a spectacle!
Mark Watson-Jones remembers, ‘I was sixteen, just getting into music really, and a school friend of ours was playing in a Penmaenmawr rock/metal band called The Tarantulas, which seemed amazing to us young and impressionable types. They, also not being a Welsh language band, blagged their way on to the bill, and me and my cousin Ste; who I’d just started jamming the origins of Blacklisted with, got a lift over with them. This was really my first experience of a big concert; bigger than a pub that is, and it was a complete eye opener, the sheer numbers of people, drinking, smoking, shagging in the aisles of the free standing hall. A little intimidating, especially through the presence of young farmer-core. The mental images I conjure up of the 4Q set are framed in smoke and lights, extremely trashed and greasy jeans, copious flying mucus, chaotically strung together tunes that did actually benefit from a big PA, and it just being very very funny. Apart from the Fflaps I can’t remember much else about the entire show so this was obviously the right tack to take.’
Phil Neale was the sound engineer at that gig; this is his take on evening, ‘I ran a PA hire business called ‘Selectarig’ supplying sound & lighting equipment for many of the larger gigs and events in North Wales during that period. But one gig in particular, a young persons ‘festival’ in Corwen springs to mind. This was a Welsh language event held in a large wooden ‘village hall’ with Maffia Mr Huws headlining and five other bands supporting. It was a fundraising event for Cymdeithas yr Iaith (The Welsh Language Society). It was a Saturday and coach loads of youngsters had been bussed in from their respective schools and colleges all over North Wales to this large, cold, echoey barn of a building. As usual, it was pissing down with rain and an audience of around 1400 in total, policed by a couple of mothers, six mature students and a dozen or so teachers were forced to take shelter in this horrible stinking sweat pit of a place.
‘The event started about 4pm with some dodgy local school band, playing their first gig, opening to their mates ecstatic applause, shortly followed by a better known offering performing Welsh reggae-style songs. Many of the audience had obviously managed to get served by the local off-licence by this time and were starting to dance, shout, bounce about and generally enjoy themselves. The third band from the top was 4Q, an English (as in non-Welsh speaking) punk outfit, who couldn’t string together three chords in either tune or time. I had worked with these guys before and assumed there might be ‘friction’, as none of the members spoke Welsh, nor had any appreciation of the Welsh language, or culture. You’ve got to remember that these were the days before the Welsh Language Act when holiday cottages were getting torched and protestors were still fighting for a Welsh language TV channel.
‘Against this background, 4Q took to the stage with a greeting of ‘sheep shagging bastards’ and proceeded to murder their opening song, which couldn’t be heard above the general din of several hundred youths baying for their “English” blood. My road crew were ordered to the stage and armed with metal microphone stands and similar weaponry and were given the instruction to stop anyone getting onto the stage, or near the expensive equipment, which they did.
‘I don’t think 4Q ever got near a second song as they continued to tease the crowd with shouts of ‘hillbillies’, ‘hicks’, ‘waaankers’ and similar insults. The more the crowd screamed, shouted and threatened, the more abuse was returned. Ten-fold. After about three minutes, the organisers, fearing a real-death experience pulled the plug, drew the band off stage and into a back room, ready to be escorted to a waiting van, to escape. Being in control of both the sound as well as the lighting at this point I threw on a loud music tape and got the stage prepared for Maffia Mr Huws, the Welsh equivalent of Nirvana. They took their places, made some passable noise and the crowd began to forget what they’d just seen.’
NORTH WALES PIONEER 1.10.87
DEGRADING OUR LAND OF SONG
Having recently moved to Wales from Yorkshire, due to my occupation, I was eager to learn all I could about the history of the country & its unique culture. Recently I attended a Welsh Language Festival in a remote town named Corwen. My wife & I have never been subjected to such a barrage of obscenities & degrading activities.
This disgusting behaviour was instigated by a so called “band” known as “4Q”. Some may find their ‘music’ exciting but we found ourselves physically threatened & mentally sickened by the louts on the stage & the reaction they provoked in the audience.
If this is an example of the natives of the Land of Song then I think the re-building of Offa’s Dyke would not be a bad move. I advise anyone reading this letter to stay well clear of 4Q.
Neil Crud gets to grips with his guitar.
Tynal Tywyll & Ffa Coffi Pawb pics by Gan Med